VERY often in Christian circles we feel ashamed of being caught in our pride. We’re supposed to be humble. But everyone struggles with pride. The problem I have, from a ministry perspective, is the difference between pride and dignity. Sometimes people don’t rail against others because of pride, but because they merely need to save face — it’s a question of dignity.
To dignify people ought to be our highest goal. To dignify people is to love them.
There is a difference between sinful pride and raw human dignity. Sometimes we mistake dignity for pride, especially when unfair pressure is heaped on a person. When a person is defensive we have to ask is it pride or is it their perception of a transgression of their dignity. If there’s even the slightest chance a person feels humiliated, we need to consider how we can restore them to their dignity.
Dignity is about a person’s God-given and God-blessed dominion.
Everyone has a dominion that God has given them responsibility over. We all have a life that God’s given us dominion over. It’s important to dignify people in the living of their life.
Dominion is something inherent to every soul. It’s not something that has anything to do with pride, though at times the lines might blur.
And where does this apply as far as others are concerned?
To dignify a person is a minister’s first and most important task. In their pastoral care, the minister ensures their care transcends what they say and it becomes what they do.
To dignify a person is a wife’s job, and a husband’s. It’s a father’s brief, as it is a mother’s, and a son’s and a daughter’s. There may be no better expression of love than of the plain dignifying of a person.
It’s a respect of the other person that goes beyond words and lands in the realm of silent actions — to know they’ve been considered. So many considerations of dignifying people occur without words but they’re always noticed.
Dignifying people is about owning the times we’ve disappointed them and betrayed them. It’s apologising for transgressions that have been felt.
When we’ve hurt someone there may be a pride issue, but there’s more principally a dignity issue. We cannot shove the blame onto them for their pride. We need to own our undignifying of them.
A person’s dignified when small deeds are done with imagination and sincerity.
Love finds its greatest expression in the silent acknowledgement that dignifies someone. Simply being considered in an extraordinarily small way is the largest way of being loved.
Small things done convey the largeness of love. Small things done overpower the love of many words.
Small things done dignify people, yet the extravagance of many words betrays love.
Those careless with love lay blame on others for feeling hurt. But those who care, care for the dignity of the other person.
Play it safe with love; think about the other person’s dignity.
Love becomes real when it becomes respect the other person defines as dignifying.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.